This weeks topic: Cross Training!
While running is definitely my favorite way to break a sweat I love trying out other forms of cross training! Here’s what I’ve tried and what I think:
BodyPump – As you will soon see many of my current cross training favs are programs released by Les Mills. The gym I go to focuses on Les Mills classes so that is what I have the most access to. I joined my gym exactly a year ago (tomorrow will be a year!) because I was looking for a way to do strength training without having to go into a weight room clueless. According to the website, BodyPump ” the original LES MILLS™ barbell class, will sculpt, tone and strengthen your entire body, fast!” The class is one hour long and consists of music tracks that lead you through a warm up, a song targeting each major muscle group (squats, chest, back, triceps, lunges, biceps, shoulders, core) and a cool down. I love it because it works your entire body. I have found that I have gained strength that can not only be measured by putting more weight on my bar but I can also see through changes in my arms, back, chest and legs. I try to do BodyPump 2 to 3 times a week, and tend to cut it out of my routine the week before a race since the leg tracks can be pretty fatiguing. More information about BodyPump is available on the Les Mills site here.
Spinning/RPM – I still remember my first spinning class a little under 2 years ago. It was a charity event that my boss talked me and some friends into attending since his wife was teaching the class. I was SO scared. I had no idea how to adjust a spinning bike to work for my body, how to change resistance, or even how to stand up on a bike. The first class was tough – it was different exercise than I had ever experienced – but I was hooked. I did spinning for about a year and now do RPM (the Les Mills indoor cycling program) since that is what my gym offers. I find that Spinning/RPM really helps build my leg strength and stamina without having a lot of impact on my joints – I get enough of that with running. I try to do RPM 1 to 2 times a week, depending on if I am training for a race or not.
BodyAttack – If I have a cross training obsession right now it is probably BodyAttack. BodyAttack is a Les Mills class that is “sports inspired.” It is an hour long and includes running, jumping, lunges, burpees. upper body work, and core work to name a few. I love the high intensity of this class and I always leave with a huge endorphin rush! I try to take BodyAttack once a week (it is too intense to take more than that with my running). More information about BodyAttack is available on the Les Mills site here.
Yoga/BodyFlow – I have tried out many different types of Yoga depending on what I am feeling at any current time. For a while I was doing hot yoga that was pretty intense, but I did it multiple times a week. This was about a year and a half ago. Then I sort of fell off the wagon and started to take lunch time yoga at work to stretch out mid-week. Unfortunately my work schedule got in the way of really enjoying the class so now I am occasionally taking BodyFlow classes (the Les Mills class that is inspired by Yoga) or doing Yoga DVDs at home. I love how relaxed yoga can make me feel – and hot yoga I think is a great way to relax your muscles and your mind. Unfortunately at this time in my life I find it very difficult to commit to regular classes. I do try to fit it in every now and then and have been trying to work it in more as my mileage has increased due to marathon training.
Kickboxing – For about a year I attended a kickboxing class through work until the program was discontinued. I loved the feeling of power I had as we practiced punching and kicking. It was really fun and a really unique way of cross training that I definitely miss.
Zumba/Sh’Bam – I had a pretty intense Zumba obsession about a year ago due to the easy access to classes through work over lunch time. I really enjoyed sweating in a completely fun and carefree way. I have even attended Zumbathons – 2-3 hour events of Zumba-ing! It really is a lot of fun. Since joining my gym I have attended Sh’Bam (the Les Mills cardio dance class) about once a week on and off. I find its a really fun way to burn some calories and have some fun. 🙂
The key to cross training is to find something you enjoy doing. That will keep you going back for more. 🙂